Posts categorized as Photography

At Te Papa we’re constantly photographing our collection items – whether that be art works, historical objects, or scientific specimens.  Recently, our imaging specialist Jean-Claude Stahl has taken pictures of some bizarre creatures – water bears, also known as tardigrades. Here, Jean-Claude explains why photographing a water bear is such a ‘bugbear’ and bug expert Phil Sirvid fills us in… Read more »

In photos: Giant eggs, tiny eggs, and the eggceptionally rare

  • Eggstremes. South Island giant moa and rifleman eggs to the same scale. Specimens ME.012749 and OR.007264 (latter collected by Captain John Bollons at Akaroa, date unknown). Photogtaph by Jean-Claude Stahl. Te Papa
  • Laughing owl egg (44.2 mm x 39.5 mm). Locality and date unknown. Specimen OR.030062. Photograph by Jean-Claude Stahl. Te Papa
  • New Zealand dotterel clutch, Maketu Spit, Bay of Plenty, October 2011. Specimen OR.029416, eggs approx. 45 mm x 32 mm. Photograph by Jean-Claude Stahl. Te Papa
  • South Island kokako egg (42.0 mm x 27.4 mm), Hokitika, date unknown. Specimen OR.007626. Photograph by Jean-Claude Stahl. Te Papa

Bird expert Colin Miskelly highlights some of the treasures in our egg collection, including those thought to be held only by Te Papa – as well as giant moa eggs, tiny rifleman eggs, and eggs that were acquired during dramatic events in New Zealand’s conservation history. Digitising our egg collection Most of the bird eggs held… Read more »

A little mystery – ‘The Sisters’ and the cabinet card photograph


Lissa Mitchell, Curator Historical Photography uses her detective skills to uncover the full story behind a late-1880s photograph. In the photography collection there is a large cabinet card photograph (above) with the torn remains of a newspaper article attached to the back. Using words from the remaining text as search terms on Paper Past I was able… Read more »

Brian Brake’s life story told through his passports

New Zealand Passport of Brian Brake

Archivist Jennifer Twist looks at photographer Brian Brake’s passports and discovers how much of one’s life can be revealed through them. A life few can imagine Brian Brake was a Magnum photographer, a cameraman, and director with the National Film Unit (1949–1955). Brake worked as a freelance photographer in Europe, the United States, the Middle East,… Read more »

Classic rugby photos by photojournalist Peter Bush, in his own words

  • Rugby player Charmaine Smith avoids a tackle from an Australian player
  • Rugby player Israel Dagg jumps onto teammates in celebration
  • A man lies on the ground while another man offers help
  • All Black Michael Jones runs with the ball past a French rugby player

Photojournalist Peter Bush has been photographing the All Blacks and New Zealand rugby since 1949, on assignment for The New Zealand Herald. In his 70-year career he has captured such legends as Meads, Whineray, Kirkpatrick, and McCaw, numerous World Cups, and documented such tours as the All Blacks in apartheid South Africa and the Springboks’… Read more »

A new bird for New Zealand – Cox’s sandpiper

  • New Zealand’s first Cox’s sandpiper, Lake Ellesmere, November 2016. Photograph: Michael Ashbee, NZ Birds Online
  • Pectoral sandpiper. Photograph: Steve Attwood, NZ Birds Online
  • Curlew sandpiper. Photograph: Neil Fitzgerald, NZ Birds Online
  • Sharp-tailed sandpiper. Photograph: Tony Whitehead, NZ Birds Online

The latest addition to the New Zealand bird list is a legendary shorebird so rare that there are times when it is likely that none exist anywhere in the world. Bird expert Colin Miskelly introduces the Cox’s sandpiper. Sandpipers are small wading birds that separate people with a serious interest in bird identification from casual… Read more »

The stories found ‘behind’ the photograph


There are many obvious differences between digital photography and traditional photography. One that probably doesn’t spring to mind is a photograph’s reverse side, which is non-existent in digital. Lissa Mitchell, Curator Historical Photography, looks at the ‘other side’ of photography. How often do you think of a photograph as a physical object these days? When we look at photographs… Read more »

11,000 images on New Zealand Birds Online – and the Brooks family’s Big Year

  • The 11,000th image – a plumed whistling duck at Anderson Park, Taradale, December 2016. Image: Scott Brooks, New Zealand Birds Online
  • Jay Brooks searching for a marsh sandpiper, Miranda, October 2016. Image: Scott Brooks
  • Laughing kookaburra, Campbells Beach, Tawharanui, August 2016. Image: Scott Brooks, New Zealand Birds Online
  • Ollie, Zef and Jay Brooks match their wingspans with that of an albatross, Taiaroa Head Albatross Centre, September 2016. Image: Scott Brooks

The 11,000th image loaded on New Zealand Birds Online was of a rare vagrant Australian duck, and it comes with an inspirational back-story of family-based discovery and adventure. The image of a plumed whistling duck near Napier was one of more than 70 images that Northland-based photographer Scott Brooks loaded on the website following an… Read more »

Whale tales from Dusky Sound: Nice smile, pity about the breath!

  • Time to move on into the sunset. Image: Jean-Claude Stahl, Te Papa.
  • Warts and all. Image: Jean-Claude Stahl, Pe Papa
  • Water spout in Dusky Sound. Image: Jean-Claude Stahl, Te Papa.
  • Boat inspection by one of the humpback whales. Image: Jean-Claude Stahl, Te Papa.

A Te Papa research team travelled to Dusky Sound: photographer Jean-Claude recalls a surprise encounter with bad-breathed whales. 15 November 2016. We had made good progress since leaving Doubtful Sound on the Southern Winds, the DOC boat that supports conservation programmes around southern New Zealand. We were now sailing past the tip of the Five… Read more »

Dusky Sound – rich in history and wildlife

  • Mottled petrel, Dusky Sound, November 2016. Image: Jean-Claude Stahl, Te Papa
  • Flax weevil (Anagotus fairburni), Dusky Sound, November 2016. Image: Jean-Claude Stahl, Te Papa
  • Adult tawaki / Fiordland crested penguin, Dusky Sound, November 2016. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Kakapo on Anchor Island, November 2016. Image: Jean-Claude Stahl, Te Papa

A team of Te Papa scientists recently visited Dusky Sound as the first stage in an investigation of changes in biodiversity since Cook’s visit in 1773. Cook named the area ‘Dusky Bay’ when he sailed past on his first voyage in March 1770, and explored the sound and its wildlife more thoroughly during a 6-week… Read more »